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Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Wellmont Theater, Montclair, NJ: Everybody was singing April 21, 2012

Posted by Anton A in American music, Southside Johnny.
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Southside Johnny and The Jukes returned to the Wellmont for a night of unabashedly emotional rock & soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny set the tone for the evening at the start by announcing a song in tribute to “an honest musician.”  The band slammed a home run with their fierce version of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.  I liked the way they bracketed the show with Band songs opening and closing the main set, and then Ophelia as the penultimate encore.  Ironically, Levon Helm’s next show was to have been at the Wellmont before he collapsed and went into his final decline.  You could almost feel his spirit hovering over the stage.  God rest his soul.

New horn man John Isley, replacing both Joey Stann and Ed Manion on tenor and baritone sax, acquitted himself well.  Johnny always finds the perfect musician for each part in the ensemble. 

 

Jeff Kazee left the keys to help out on the drums early in the set.

 

 

 

During the unison horn section solo in Without Love, Johnny asked the guys to change it up and play the solo as a round; they fell into a near-flawless rendition on the spot.  Truly impressive.

 

 

After the best version of Till The Good Is Gone I’ve yet heard, Johnny asked a fellow in the crowd for requests.  Someone else responded, Johnny immediately told him, “Shut up, I didn’t ask YOU!”  The original questionee asked for “Everything,” as in I Want Everything, whereupon Johnny asked the band to play everything they know, each member playing something different.  The resulting cacaphony, with familiar melodies weaving in and out of the din, was both hilarious and brilliant.

This was something other than the usual Jukes show; it left me with both the usual huge grin and a bit of a tear in my eye for old Levon.  I thank the stars that we still have a few honest musicians like these guys on this plane.

 

 

Here’s the set list: 

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Broke Down Piece Of Man, Woke Up This Morning, I Played The Fool, You Can’t Bury Me, Help Me, Walk Away Renee, This Time It’s for Real, Paris, Tango ‘Til They’re Sore, Love on the Wrong Side of Town, Till The Good Is Gone, Everything (each band member playing every song they know all at once), Talk To Me, Harder Than It Looks, Gladly Go Blind, Forever, Strange Strange Feeling, Without Love, All Night Long, Princess of Little Italy, Chest Fever / The Fever, The Weight

Encore: I Don’t Want to Go Home, We’re Having a Party

Second encore: Ophelia

Third encore: Hearts of Stone

More photos are available here.

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